Minutes: Discussion Area 1 - UAV Operations and Mission Planning and Tasking

(Discussion Area Leader: Joe Rodero)

Area 1 included five presentations:

  1. "Mission Planning with the Initial Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) Capability (ICC)" (NATO UNCLAS), Mr. J-P Massart, Air C2 Branch, Air C2 & Sensors Division, N3A-NL
  2. "US Maritime Tactical UAV Concepts of Operations" (NATO UNCLAS), Captain (USN) L.D. Whitmer, PEO CMs and Joint UAVs (US) and Chairman of NATO Naval Armaments Group (NNAG) Project Group 35
  3. "RQ-1S NRT Video Exploitation and C2" (NATO UNCLAS), Major D.A. Schiffer, HQ Air Combat Command (US)
  4. "German Air Force UAV Position and Way Ahead" (NATO UNCLAS), Lt Col Wolfgang Turnwald, MOD Germany
  5. "Germany Army UAV Plans and CL-289 Operations" (NATO UNCLAS), Lt Col Bernhard von Bothmer, MOD Germany

Question opportunities were provided after each presentation and at the end of the Discussion Area briefings. Questions and discussion are summarized below:

Q. Does the ICC provide a means to minimize risk by presenting operators with a SAM Pk gradient?

A. ICC is not meant for the final mission planning. This is performed at the squadron level by the pilots who will fly the mission. The ICC does allow the visualization of areas under threat radar or SAM coverage, but does not assign probabilities of detection or kill.

Q. How does ICC allow the planning and deconfliction of UAVs?

A. UAV is not currently a NATO mission type. It is acknowledged that UAVs are part of CAOC Vicenza's assets, but even there they are planned separately and folded into the ATO.

Q. Discussion surfaced the issues of "operator qualification", "UAV airworthiness certification" and rules for flight in other than military special use airspace.

A. These are among a litany of legal issues which must be sorted out. Certainly, the requirement to "license" operators (pilot license, special license, instrument rating, etc.) appears logical for flight in controlled airspace in an IMC/IFR, day/night environment. Other rules are under discussion in various fora, including EUROCONTROL, ICAO, FAA and NATO bodies.

Q. Communications and bandwidth were raised as problem areas in all parts of the workshop.

A. In this part of the workshop, it was left that the NIAG SG 53 is addressing the needs of a spectrum of scenarios.

Q. Does NATO plan to differentiate between UAVs or lump them together as a class?

A. When incorporated into the ATO process, a recce UAV will be grouped with recce assets, a jammer with SEAD assets, etc.

Summary wrap-up:

  1. NATO must examine UAV use in the following context areas:
  1. UAVs are National assets
  1. Tasking authority will rest at various levels
  1. Introduction into the ATO process
  1. Dissemination of products to users is key:
  1. Redefinition of "traditional" headquarters staff responsibilities may be necessary